Sneaky Sam

Darlene, Sammy's sister, sat reading on the sofa. Suddenly an icy hand reached up and grabbed her arm. Darlene screamed, threw the book across the room and ran into the kitchen to Mom.

"What on earth?" Mom said, looking around.

"I was reading a scary part of my book. Something grabbed me from behind the sofa!" Darlene said, trembling.

"There's nothing behind the sofa!" Mom replied.

"Yes, there is, and it has cold hands!" Darlene said.

Looking behind the sofa, Mom found Sammy covering his mouth to stifle the giggles and holding a bag of ice cubes in his hand. "Sammy! Come out!" Mom scolded.

"That was not nice to trick your sister!" Mom said, frowning.

"It's fun to sneak up on her," he chuckled. "She screams every time!"

"Don't do it again!" Mom said, turning back to finish her baking.

Creeping up on people is fun when they don't know you are there, Sammy thought as he walked outside. What if I sneak up on Mom?

Mom always washed the towels she had used when she finished her baking, and then hung them on the line outside. Sammy stepped up to the closed back door, his nose touching the wood. He just stood there, grinning.

He could hear Mom rinsing and wringing out the towels. Finally, she walked toward the door. The doorknob turned and the door opened. "Oh!" shrieked Mom. "Goodness, Sammy, why are you standing so close to the door? You scared me half to death!"

Sammy stepped into the kitchen. "Sorry, Mom," he said, but he had a mischievous grin. Mom flipped the wet towel at Sammy, snapping it against his thigh. His grin disappeared. He grabbed a warm cookie and ducked outside again.

That evening, after their family devotions, Dad said, "Sammy, go brush your teeth and come back. Mom and I want to talk to you."

Uh-oh! I'm going to get it! Sammy thought as he squeezed toothpaste onto his brush.

Sammy trailed back to the living room. "I hear you scared your sister and mother," Dad said. "Why did you do that?"

"I dunno!" Sammy said, shrugging his shoulders. "I . . . I just thought it would be fun," Sammy said, rubbing his nose and shuffling his feet.

"All kids play sneaking games, son," Dad replied. "But as adults, a person who sneaks is not well-liked. Boys who never control the desire to sneak grow up to be sneaking adults, who may go on to do more damaging things than frightening their sister."

"Come here, buddy," Dad said. Sammy went over and sat his pajama-clad legs down beside Dad's trousered ones. "Sneaking is a way of lying," Dad went on. He tilted Sammy's chin up so he had to look Dad in the eye. "When you sneak, you are trying to make people believe you aren't there. It's an untruth!"

"I didn't think about it like that, Dad," Sammy sighed. "I just wanted some fun, that's all."

"Furthermore," Mom put in, "scaring people may make them fall or hurt themselves. What you did wasn't just a joke; it was dangerous!"

Sammy scuffed his bedroom slipper along the carpet. "Sorry," he mumbled.

"Good buddy!" Dad said, smiling. "Now go to bed. Think about this: When you grow up, do you want people calling you Sneaky Sam?"